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Crestpoint buys 50% stake in 234 Laurier Ottawa office tower

Toronto-based Crestpoint Real Estate Investments has acquired a 50 per cent interest in the 452,0...

IMAGE: 234 Laurier Avenue West in Ottawa. (Courtesy Slate Asset Mgmt.)

234 Laurier Ave. W. in Ottawa. (Courtesy Slate Asset Management)

Toronto-based Crestpoint Real Estate Investments has acquired a 50 per cent interest in the 452,000-square-foot 234 Laurier office tower in downtown Ottawa.

Crestpoint paid owners TD Greystone Asset Management (now known as TD Asset Management) and Slate Asset Management just over $92 million for its stake in the 26-storey tower, according to data supplied to RENX by Altus Group. (Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct the source of the sale transaction data. RENX apologizes for the error)

The transaction values the property at $184 million, representing an adjusted per-square-foot value of $407.

234 Laurier is a prime downtown property which is 100 per cent occupied by private and public-sector tenants, including Canadian online shopping tech firm Shopify.

It sits on .835 acres of land and fronts onto two major downtown Ottawa arteries, Laurier Avenue West and O’Connor Street. The location gives it easy access to the rest of Ottawa’s Central Business District, the Parliamentary Precinct and the city’s new light rail transit line as well as existing bus transportation.

234 Laurier was completed in 1985.

Shopify moving into 234 Laurier

The tower has been undergoing a major tenant shift and transformation during the past few years. Formerly the home of Export Development Canada, the tower was then utilized as swing space, housing the Bank of Canada for a couple of years while the bank’s nearby tower underwent extensive renovations and modernization.

It is now occupied mainly by Shopify, which signed a lease for 18 floors and 325,000 square feet of space in early 2017. Shopify is an international leader in providing e-commerce solutions and services for retailers and other businesses.

The company has been steadily fitting up and occupying the building, ultimately planning to have about 2,500 employees in the new space.

Crestpoint is expanding its Ottawa presence at a time when the city’s office market has been experiencing steadily declining vacancy and rising leasing rates.

As of Q4 2019, the downtown vacancy rate in Ottawa was at 7.1 per cent according to CBRE, and across the city the rate was 6.3 per cent. In the CBD, vacancy stood at 5.9 per cent.

Leasing rates rose almost 10 per cent during 2019 to $20.03.

The transaction was brokered by Nico Zentil of CBRE.

Crestpoint’s 2020 acquisitions

Crestpoint has been steadily expanding its Canadian portfolio so far in 2020; this is the company’s fourth major purchase in the past three months. It has also acquired:

* Place du Canada at 1010 de la Gauchetère St. W. in Montreal, a 22-storey, 384,000-square-foot building which includes two floors of retail. Crestpoint acquired a 97 per cent share in that facility, while Redbourne Group acquired the other three per cent.

* Stampede Station at 1327 and 1331 Macleod Trail in Calgary’s Beltline district, a 10-storey, 163,000-square-foot office building with ground-floor retail. The property also includes .64 acres of land zoned for future residential development.

* TransAlta Place at 110 12th Ave. SW in Calgary, a three-building complex encompassing an entire city block. It contains 336,000 square feet of space, and is also in the city’s Beltline neighbourhood.

During 2019, Crestpoint made just one significant addition to its portfolio, acquiring a 50 per cent interest in a 4.4-million-square-foot industrial portfolio in Calgary. The portfolio included 14 properties in and around the city, as well as 131 acres of excess land.

About Crestpoint

Crestpoint is a commercial real estate investment manager with $4.9 billion of gross assets under management.

Crestpoint is part of the Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group, a multi-boutique asset management company that provides investment management products and services to institutional and high net-worth clients.

With offices across Canada and in Chicago, New York and London, Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group and its affiliates are collectively responsible for the management of over $79 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2019.


* Multi-million makeover for Ottawa’s Constitution Square

* Crestpoint buys two major Calgary office properties

* Crestpoint, Redbourne buy Montreal’s Place du Canada

* Crestpoint buys 50% of large Calgary industrial portfolio